Are You Ready for the Latest Innovations?

Laura M. Porinchak / December 2017

I realized the other day that I have no need to wear a wristwatch. I’ve been wearing one for decades, and I’ve accumulated a rather nice collection of watches over the years. Like eyeglasses, I look at watches as stylish accessories.
    
In the last few years, some people have asked why I still wear a watch when I could just look at my iPhone to find out the time. The trouble with that was that my iPhone wasn’t always within arm’s reach. But after a few upgrades, I now don’t have to have my smartphone in my hand to interact with it, I just need to be in the same room, or close to it. Now, instead of looking at my watch, I just say into the air, “Hey, Siri. What time is it?”
    
It’s the same with Alexa, the Amazon Echo. Instead of searching the Internet to find the proper temperature for roasting a chicken, I just yell from the kitchen, “Alexa. What’s the best temperature for cooking a whole chicken?”
    
Then there’s the Nest Thermostat. My house is kept at an “eco” temperature based on outside temperatures whenever I leave. The Nest knows when I’m gone because it is tied into my iPhone, and if my phone isn’t registering on the Wi-Fi, the Nest knows I’ve left the building and have taken my phone with me. On the flipside, before I leave work, I can use my phone to literally push a button or two to set the temperature in my house where I want it to be. That way, on these colder nights, my house will be nice and toasty when I get home and not so “eco chilly.”
    
When you see a solo shopper in the grocery store, and that person is talking but there’s no one around except you, there was a time when you’d think that person was just a wee bit “off.” Today when you see someone “talking to himself,” you know they’re perfectly fine because they’re just using a Bluetooth headset.
    
We’ve seen some amazing technological advances in the last several years, and they are changing the way we interact with each other and do business. Some technologies have larger learning curves than others, but all are designed to improve our lives, make them easier, and maybe save the planet in the process. The wall and ceiling construction market is also experiencing somewhat of a technological evolution. I believe it started with Building Information Modeling, then there were tablets and apps for the job site, and now we’re at augmented reality and 3-D printing. What’s next? Will we be ready?
    
We look at five construction innovations that we’re calling game-changers in the article that starts on page 38. Some of the things I’ve already talked about are discussed in this article (augmented reality), but we also talked to contractors about power tool programs, ERP accounting systems and more.
    
Then we go to page 44 to learn what positive leadership is really all about. You may think you’ve got the leadership program down pat, but after reading the scenarios presented in this article, you may want to reconsider
    
Finally, our #AWCI100 article on page 72 takes a look at the time capsule AWCI is putting together in celebration of the association’s 100th anniversary. You have the opportunity to be a part of this endeavor, to leave a message that will be read in 2018 (we hope!), so make sure you give this one a read.
    
Thank you all for reading our magazine, and for providing your comments and participating in interviews that make this publication so great. We couldn’t do it without you. Have a wonderful holiday season, and we’ll see you in 2018.